2023 Medicare Entitlement Statement (MES) processing delay
If you applied to Services Australia for a 2023 MES and you're waiting for it to be processed, you should still lodge your tax return by the due date. For more information, see 2023 MES processing delay.
You can claim a full exemption for any period that you:
- have a Medicare Entitlement statement showing you were not entitled to Medicare benefits because you were a temporary resident for Medicare purposes, and either
- are a member of a diplomatic mission or consular post in Australia and meet other conditions.
If you qualify for an exemption, you claim the exemption through your tax return. This exemption is known as exemption category on your tax return when you complete the Medicare levy section.
A Medicare Entitlement StatementExternal Link (MES) from Services Australia shows the period in an income year that you were not entitled to Medicare benefits. If you have an MES, it doesn't automatically mean you are exempt from the Medicare levy. All your dependants are also required to be in a Medicare levy exemption category.
Services Australia is experiencing processing delays for all 2023 MES applications. If you have applied, it may not be processed before the due date to lodge your tax return - which is 31 October 2023 for self-preparers.
We are unable to advise when your MES application will be processed.
To ensure you are not disadvantaged by the delay, make sure you have applied for your MES and lodge your tax return by the due date.
If you apply for a 2023 MES before 17 March 2024 but have not received it at the time you're lodging your tax return, you can still complete the Medicare levy exemption question as though you have your statement.
Once you receive a response from Services Australia, if:
- the statement matches what you lodged in your tax return, there is nothing more you need to do
- your application is not successful or is different to what you lodged in your return, you must amend your tax return as soon as possible.
If you apply for a 2023 MES on or after 17 March 2024, you will need to have received your statement before you can lodge your tax return.
Applying for an MES and lodging your tax return
- Apply for a Medicare Entitlement StatementExternal Link. Even if you have received the exemption before, it doesn't mean you'll get it every year. You need to apply for an MES as soon as possible so that you can lodge your tax return correctly and on time.
- Wait to receive your MES before lodging your tax return. It can take up to 8 weeks for your application to be processed and for you to receive your MES from Services Australia.
- Lodge your tax return once you have received your MES. We will work out if you are exempt from paying the Medicare levy when we assess your tax return.
Example: Don't have to pay the Medicare levy
In 2022-23, Priya was on a Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) and had no dependants. Priya wasn't entitled to Medicare benefits and wants to claim an exemption from paying the Medicare levy.
Priya needs a Medicare Entitlement Statement (MES) to show she wasn't entitled to Medicare benefits in 2022-23 before completing her 2022-23 tax return.
Priya applies to Services Australia for a MES. It takes up to 8 weeks to receive the MES from Services Australia.
Priya receives the MES stating she was not entitled to Medicare benefits for the full year, from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023. Priya keeps a copy of the MES for her records.
Priya can claim a full Medicare levy exemption for the full year as she has a MES for the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 and she doesn't have any dependants.
If Priya completes her tax return using myTax, she enters '365' as the number of days she qualified for the Full 2% levy exemption and answers 'Yes' to the question 'Were you a temporary resident for Medicare purposes and have a Medicare entitlement statement from Services Australia?'End of example
Example: Have to pay the Medicare levy
In 2022-23, Jed was on a Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) and had a spouse for the full year. Jed wasn't entitled to Medicare benefits and wants to claim an exemption from paying the Medicare levy. Jed's spouse was entitled to Medicare benefits in 2022-23.
Jed applied and received a Medicare Entitlement Statement (MES) showing he wasn't entitled to Medicare benefits for the full year, from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
Even though Jed has a MES and wasn't entitled to Medicare benefits, Jed can't claim the exemption. This is because his spouse was entitled to Medicare benefits and therefore is not in a Medicare levy exemption category.End of example
You do not have to pay the Medicare levy if you are a member of a diplomatic mission or consular post in Australia (or a member of such a person's family and you were living with them) and:
- were not an Australian citizen, and
- do not ordinarily live in Australia, and
- you did not have any dependants for that period, or
- all your dependants (including your spouse) were in a Medicare levy exemption category for that period.